March 8, 2021
To mark the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, HDI, VOMO, and World Vision have announced National COVID-19 Day on March 11, 2021. This day will give participants an opportunity to process grief and find hope through an online platform and volunteer opportunities.
Over the past year, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College and volunteer management nonprofit VOMO have been at the forefront of equipping community organizations for COVID-19 response. Today, HDI, VOMO, World Vision, the National Association of Social Workers and other nonprofit, grassroots, and corporate partners are announcing the launch of National COVID-19 Day.
National COVID-19 Day will take place on March 11, which is the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The purpose of National COVID-19 Day is to help the United States navigate our collective grief, encourage one another, and embrace hope for what is ahead.
“With the United States recently surpassing 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths, our country needs ways to come together virtually and safely to remind us that we are not alone and that we will eventually overcome this pandemic,” said Humanitarian Disaster Institute co-director Dr. Jamie Aten, who is also helping organize National COVID-19 Day.
National COVID-19 Day and strategic partners will help meet this need by creating an online platform for people from all walks of life to observe shared grief, come together virtually, or volunteer with proper safety protocols to recognize others in our communities and country making a difference and provide support from caring listeners.
“We are all going through COVID-19 together,” said Rob Peabody, co-founder and CEO of VOMO. “We may be processing it differently and have had different experiences throughout the pandemic, but as a whole, it is something that the entire world is grappling with collectively. It has given us the opportunity to process together, empathize together, and now make a difference together.”
To remember those who have died from COVID-19 National COVID-19 Day is encouraging others to observe a moment of silence on March 11, as well as to pause weekly in remembrance through partner The Friday Minute. People can also share memories online thanks to a collaboration with FacesOfCOVID.
“We join with Humanitarian Disaster Institute to mark this somber occasion and honor more than 500,000 precious lives lost to COVID-19—and countless more families suffering the impact of the pandemic,” said Edgar Sandoval, President and CEO of World Vision U.S. “Our hearts are broken by this national tragedy. But we “do not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13), so we also affirm the ways God worked through His people and their acts of generosity to save many lives. World Vision has been proud to partner with the Church as it lives outside its four walls, working hand-in-hand with their neighbors to distribute life-saving food, PPE, and other essentials. In the midst of pain and uncertainty, Christ followers have courageously continued to work together to reach those who are vulnerable and in need. That’s why National COVID-19 Day is a time of remembrance, but also hope.”
Through the National COVID-19 Day platform powered by VOMO, people can volunteer by finding and signing up to help organizations responding to COVID-19 in 14 major U.S. cities, as well as online ways to volunteer across the country.
“This global experience has resulted in deep suffering and loss for people around the world, and the common experience of social distancing has created intense feelings of isolation, helplessness and loss,” said Humanitarian Disaster Institute co-director Kent Annan, who is also helping organize National COVID-19 Day. “By recognizing our shared experience, we can begin to move together toward deeper healing and hope.”
People can also get free help on the online platform from partners like the world’s largest free online emotional support network 7 Cups, Inspire’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Group and Discussion Community, Long-Haulers Discussion Group, and National Association of Social Work’s Help Starts Here.
Through a partnership with VidHug National COVID-19 Day will be sharing large montage videos sharing their COVID-19 experiences. On the website, users can also send thank you videos to encourage frontline workers, family, and friends who have made a positive difference in their lives and community.
Free resources for navigating grief, cultivating resilience, and caring for others from National COVID-19 Day partners and collaborators including ebooks, articles, and more. COVID-19 research-based quizzes, insights, and toolkits are available from Harvard University Human Flourishing Program, Fred Hutch Cancer Center, Healthcare Ready, RAND, and The Pandemic Grief Project.
National COVID-19 Day was co-founded by Jamie Aten and Kent Annan at Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute. On November 24th, 2020 the Humanitarian Disaster Institute received a proclamation from National Day Archives officially designating and certifying that March 11 of each calendar year is officially designated as National COVID-19 Day. Efforts are underway to secure future municipal, state, and national support and recognition of the day.
National COVID-19 Day is made possible by the generous support of World Vision.
About Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College
The Humanitarian Disaster Institute is the first faith-based academic disaster research center in the country. Our mission is to help the church prepare and care for a disaster-filled world. We use our research to create resources and events geared toward students, survivors, helpers, and researchers. Housed at Wheaton College Graduate School, the institute also offers an M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership and Trauma Certificate to equip the next generation of humanitarians. Learn more at wheaton.edu/HDI.